How long does it reaaly take?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by NysiaAnera, Nov 12, 2016.

  1. NysiaAnera

    NysiaAnera Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How long does it really take for hens to accept another hen back into the flock? Are my hens just mean?
    I have two hens with chicks right now. Well, as of today, 3. One (an Australorp) has chicks that are 4 weeks old, the other's (a Buff Orpington) are 3 weeks old. The Australorp, after hatching her chicks, spent a few nights outside, and then moved them all into the henhouse into a nest box for the night. The other hens are fine with her. The Buff Orpington has not been allowed, and gets picked on constantly, and has been forced to nest with her chicks outside. Both hens started brooding in nest boxes, then were moved to a "maternity ward", and then let out once the chicks hatched so they could raise them naturally. Why have they accepted the Australorp but not the Orpington? They were all raised together from hatchlings, they should all know each other, so I really don't get it. I did worry about separating them to brood, but figured I would give it a try because so many people recommended doing it. I decided never to separate a broody again because of this. I have two new ones brooding right now, and they were both left in with everyone else.
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Hens protect their chicks fiercely and its possible that the perceived competition for food is a factor leading to the exclusion of your BO. This would be even more likely if she is the lower in the pecking order, i.e. less able to assert herself.

    I have a feeling peeps may have recommended separating the broodies in order to protect the chicks from the other broody hens. I have raised many chicks with broody hens, and had them in the coop - -its perfectly fine, when there is one broody hen. Having multiple broody hens can be a bit of a juggling act and its something that i personally would not do.
     
  3. NysiaAnera

    NysiaAnera Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, that makes sense. Thank you. So she could remain ostracized for a while then.
    As I think about it, they do seem to fight with her more when I give treats. The Australorp momma does attack her most frequently, always around the feeder, so maybe she is the one who actually did the chasing away. I have never seen any of the chickens actually go after any of the chicks, only the momma, so that is good. At least she has her own shelter to sleep in. I would definitely feel better if it was at least in the coop, if not in the hen house itself.
     
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    If you can put another feeding station out, it may reduce the tension. She could remain ostracised until the other hen weans her chicks.
     
  5. NysiaAnera

    NysiaAnera Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They free range, so usually they are scattered about, and there is also a feeder available 24/7. The treats are anything from kitchen scraps to a scoop of mixed grains I throw out on the ground of the coop in the evening. When I do that, I also throw a few handfuls just out on the ground for her and all the chicks (the Australorp runs in the coop with everyone else and just leaves her babies behind, so they join the BO and her chicks... and the 3 month old ones as well).
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I had a mid ranking broody separated to hatch....she had 3 massive battles when put back with the flock all started around the feeder.
    Just the hens fighting, chicks were fine and not really targeted much.

    How long have the broodies been back with the flock?

    How big is your coop?
    A little confused with your nomenclature...." in the coop, if not in the hen house itself."

    Might be a space thing.....or just take some time....but extra space and feeders will help.
     
  7. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    I was told to try and raise them with the flock and not separate either....Possible look no touch till Chicks are a bit bigger, other than that let them mingle ASAP.....I agree with the original poster......



    Cheers!
     
  8. NysiaAnera

    NysiaAnera Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The Australorp was put back when the chicks were a couple days old. The Buff Orpington was put back the day after hatching. I was going to keep her separated longer, but she threw such a fit trying to get out and be with the rest of the flock, I was afraid the chicks would get hurt just from her. So... almost 4 weeks for the Australorp, 3 weeks for the BO.

    What I call the coop is the entire fenced in chicken area (run/hen house together). They go into the run to get into the hen house. It is 32'x28'. The run door only gets closed at night after they are all roosting for the night, and gets opened in the early morning before they are up, so they spend their entire day scattered over 2.5 acres. So when I said I would feel better if she at least went into the coop at night, if not in the hen house, she would just be behind the fence in a more secure/safe area for the night.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    ..and they went back with flock and their chicks are with them?
    So how big is your hen house.....plenty of space for all?

    Usually here the enclosed night time place is the coop, what you are calling the hen house.
    The 'run' is the surrounding fenced in area, often with a mesh or solid roof.
    Pasture area, fenced or free range, is beyond the run.
    Semantics maybe, but makes communications clearer.
     
  10. NysiaAnera

    NysiaAnera Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, all the chicks stay with their mommas. They will often nest outside for a few nights, but then they start taking their chicks inside and sleeping in a nest box until the chicks can get up onto the roosts. They just raise their chicks with the rest of the flock, and there has never been a problem before. It is just this one hen that got kicked out. Of course, I have never had 2 broodies with tiny chicks at the same time before... but we are about to find out if it is going to be the new trend.

    The hen house is not huge, but they have plenty of room to spread out on the roosts if the like, and there is currently 14 nest boxes. All they use it for is laying eggs during the day, and roosting at night. Otherwise, as soon as it is light enough to see, they are out the door... or even when it is still pitch black outside.
     

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